The Sahastralinga Talav (lake) occupies the north-western
part of the historical city of Patan. It is
on the left bank of river Saraswati. The 'talav' is reputed to have been
built by Siddharaja Jaisinh, the Chalukyan ruler of Gujarat.
An inscription found in the Shiva Temple in Vyala Kua Street of Patan
indicates that the lake was part of a much larger work.
At present, the Sahastralinga Talav is dry. All its systems, except for the earthwork, are buried under the sands of the Saraswati, the same river that had once filled it with water. Folklore ascribes the dryness to the curse of one of the diggers, Jasma Odan.
An excavation in 1936 resulted in the opening of the entry channel, silting chamber, part of the embankment, and a bridge leading into the 'talav'. The lake, pentagonal in shape, is marked by a series of mounds showing its shape. The earthworks circumscribe an area of several kilometres and are about 1 km broad.
The total area of the 'talav' is about 17 hectares. At its fullest, the lake would have contained about 4,206,500 cubic metres of water.
In the centre of the 'talav' is a large earth heap, the 'Bakasthana'. On a raised platform over it, was built a 'rauza', an octagonal structure of Lakhori bricks. The most interesting of the relics are the channels, the well, steps and side elevation of the 'talav', and a bridge. The channel, 95 m long and 5 m broad, used to run north to south and connected the lake to the source of water, the Saraswati.
On the western side, near the mausoleum of Saiyad Hasan, evidences of the waste weir channel, measuring 18 m in width and 28 m in length, are found. The Rudra Mahal at Sidhpur was conceived and constructed as a tribute to Mahadev, by the first Solanki king of Gujarat, Mulraj. Construction of the Rudra Mahal started probably in 983 AD and took 175 years to complete.
Twenty years after ascending to the throne, Mulraj had put his kingdom into order, and was in a position to turn to more unworldly things. Mulraj decided that the bank of the river Saraswati was a fitting site for the temple. The 150 yard long and 135 yard wide temple also had 11 smaller temples, and three 40-feet high gates.
Approximately ten years after the work on the temple had started, Mulraj breathed his last. The succeeding four generations did nothing to further the work.
The fifth generation, Siddharaja Jaisinh, restarted the work on the structure. After 14 years of incessant work, the temple was finally completed.
The main temple in the complex was 150 ft x 100 ft, the largest temple, then, Somnath, was by comparison much smaller; a mere 130 feet x 75 feet the main temple had a three-storey high foyer. It is said that the entire structure rested on 1600 pillars.